Friday, March 18, 2011

Breaking The Fast on The Run

Jewish Life has a number of fast days each year. I'm pretty lucky that I'm generally home on fast days and don't have to lead my normal life. OK, that's because my "normal life" is based at home and when I taught in a yeshiva high school, they didn't have English on fast days.

For me a fast day could go lazy and slowly. I'd spend the afternoon preparing vegetable soup (and pizza when the kids were living at home,) no stress at all. Then, davka, yesterday was Ta'anit Ester, the Fast of Esther and I had late shift at Yafiz. And to top it all off, it was Thursday, and I have cooking and cleaning to do on Thursday. How was I going to pull that off?

First of all, I psyched myself up on the possibility that I may have to break the fast early. Over the years, I've discovered that I do best breaking a fast on cooked foods, like a hearty vegetable soup. There was no way I could bring any of the versions of my tnt delicious vegetable soup with me to Yafiz. So I took out my old trusty frying pan (plus cover) and cut up:

  • onion
  • carrot
  • squash
As that began cooking with a bit of oil, I then added some cauliflower and just before turning it off I added a big chunk of cabbage. When it was cooked, but not too soft and mushy, I let it cool and then packed all the vegetables into plastic containers. I ended up with more than I'd usually take and needed two containers, which ended up absolutely perfect. For my protein I took some shelled walnuts. Nuts are my protein of choice for traveling or when I'm in a place where cooking kosher food is difficult. I also made sure that I had a bottle of water, a tea bag and special hot cup packed up.

I had one of those "gift of G-d" rides straight to Sha'ar Binyamin's Rami Levi, Yafiz when I was waiting for the bus, so I got there early. I tried to do a bit of shopping in Rami Levi, but I couldn't concentrate and decided to obey the rule:

Don't shop on an empty stomache!
There was nothing left to do but go to work, so I "signed in." After working with the customers for an hour or more, I felt that I was walking in circles and knew that the time had come to eat. I wasn't getting paid to wander around confused. My boss was very supportive and understanding:

"Eat already!"

So I sat down and ate the food in the smaller container, a couple of walnuts and drank some water. I didn't jump up immediately, because I wanted the food to reach my brain first. Then I felt fine, and after the fast was officially over, I ate the rest of my food, made myself tea and finished the water. Within a half an hour I felt "myself" and it was as if I had eaten normally the entire day.

Thank G-d I have an understanding boss and I've learned what's best for myself. Just like my dieting advice, the key is planning and preparation. As long as I have the right foods with me, I'm not tempted by what I shouldn't be eating.

Today is Friday, Erev Shabbat, lots to cook, clean and also pay a shiva call, (visit a mourner.)

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Same'ach


Ariella's blog said...

I actually cooked a vegetable soup yesterday, but it was a nearly last minute decision. It was good even though one daughter threw in a few too many noodles, so there wasn't as much liquid as I would like in a soup.

Batya said...

Ariella, I'm sure it was the perfect fast-breaking food, even with the extra noodles. It was a challenge for me to break the fast at work, but B"H, I did survive.